Eddie Howe responds to Newcastle United critics

Eddie Howe has responded to claims that Newcastle United only stayed up because of the club’s January spend.

The club, which this season became the first to stay up after failing to win any of its first 14 Premier League games, spent more than £80million on five players, including Kieran Trippier and Bruno Guimaraes, in the mid-season transfer window.

There’s recognition on Tyneside for the job that Howe and his staff have done since taking over the club in November. However, it’s also been claimed by some critics that the club’s transfer business was the decisive factor.

"The easy thing is to talk about money,” said Howe, who has been nominated for the Premier League’s Manager of the Season award.

“It’s not what has got us here. January helped massively, and the money helped the team, and the players who came in made a huge difference. But I don’t think it was THE reason we did very well.”

Asked if he was annoyed by the claims that the club only stayed up because of its January business, Howe said: “I want the players to get the credit for their performances.

"The team’s come together and fought for every point, and I don’t think money gives you that.”

Newcastle, 14th in the league with two games left to play, could still finish in the top half of the table.

Newcastle United head coach Eddie Howe.

And the hope is that United, taken over last year in a £305million deal, can push on next season under Howe.

“The appetite’s whetted by what we could be in the future,” said Howe. “There is lots of hard work to get there to levels we want to be, but without a doubt we can get there. It will be amazing to see the club in a few years time, because the potential is enormous.”

Meanwhile, Howe was linked with tonight’s opponents Arsenal while in charge of Bournemouth.

Asked if he would have considered an offer from Arsenal had one been made, Howe said: “At the time I didn’t crave going to a top club – I loved being Bournemouth manager.

"I turned down numerous offers because I was happy – on and off the pitch. I knew eventually there was a time when I would leave, but it wasn’t on my short-term agenda.”